Saturday 26 June 2010


Call me Joseph. Some days ago - never mind how long ago precisely - having money in my purse, and nothing particularly to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

Thursday morning I repacked my bags. This done, I stepped aboard my home for the next seven nights; Windfall. A sailing boat. I should offer to qualify this by stating that I have never been aboard a sailing boat in my life, have never slept upon the waves, and have not the faintest idea what I am letting myself in for. But some siren voice, fathoms deep within me, obliges me to learn to sail.

I slung my duffel over the side with more than a little trepidation. I am not a natural upon the water. In fact I fear it deeply. Perhaps it is the uneasiness one feels when presented with the relentless motion, or that peculiar sensation of suddenly not being a part of the earth. The water, the sea, the ocean; these things are so unfamiliar to a landlubber like me that they are as alien as the inside of the womb.

And then there is the other thing, of course. The sense of adventure, yes, but the allegorical adventure too - what the sea and sailing represent. And what the Great book I so crassly parodied alludes to; and which reflects itself so immaculately in all our actions; that human nature is compelled to fear, hate and hunt the very things that will ultimately destroy it.

For the next week, I think I have a sufficiently thick hull between me and the deep blue sea to keep me safe from harm. Our captain is no Ahab, quite the opposite; he is but a 75 year old Englishman named Victor - gentle of spirit but occasioning to furiously polite commands. And though I feel not embarked upon some hell wrought quest, I will be weary of any in whose shadow I should happen to stand, lest I should find myself bound to some other man's fate.

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